Judge rules in favor of USFS on Angora projects

By From page A3 | July 17, 2011

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The U.S. Forest Service plans to begin restoration in the Angora fire area as soon as this week after a judge upheld the agency’s environmental analysis of projects in the more than 3,000 acre area.

On Wednesday, Eastern District Court Judge Garland Burrell granted the Forest Service’s motion for summary judgment in the case of Earth Island Institute v. Gibson, ruling against the plaintiffs on all counts, said Forest Service spokeswoman Cheva Heck in a statement.

In the suit, the environmental group said the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act in its analysis of how the Angora projects would affect populations of black-backed woodpeckers.

Work to control invasive plant species, improvements to the road and trail system, and thinning of dead and some live trees to reduce the future risk of wildfire and improve forest health will begin this summer, Heck said.

Planning and design for stream channel, wetland and meadow restoration projects are ongoing, and some field work will begin next summer, Heck added.

“We are pleased that the district court ruled in favor of the Forest Service and that we can now begin to implement the plans we developed with our local community to return the Angora Fire area to a healthier state,” said Nancy Gibson, forest supervisor for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, in the statement. “Our team has worked diligently since the fire to develop a community vision for the Angora ecosystem and thoroughly analyze various options for achieving it.”

Tahoe Tribune

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